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Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5: Nineteenth-Century Notation

By Jesse Bobbitt, Maddie Mascia, and Hannah Reinschmidt

Examples from the Score

Image 1:

Image 2:

Nineteenth-Century Notation

Nineteenth-century scores did not always use the same notational conventions as we do today. Some important differences found in the notation of this first edition score compared to modern notation are the notation of multiple bars of rest and the use of osias. An osia, or an alternative line, is provided over a line of music multiple times throughout the piano part. The osias offer alternatives of note value, register, level of virtuosity, and general intervallic makeup. An example can be found in Image 1 to the left. 

There are two different sized bars with the number of measures placed above when a part is supposed to rest for several measures. This can be found in Image 2 to the left, which shows six measures of rest by using two vertical bars of different length, representing different values. If there is just one measure of rest, a whole rest is notated. In modern notation, we typically see a whole rest on the staff with the number of measures written above it.